As Perth Stadium nears its first event the construction team is ticking off key items.
Extra wide seats? Check
Super new train system to and from? Check
Bigger and heaps more toilets than old Subiaco Oval? Check
State of the art screens that dwarf the previous ones? Check
Improved beer selection? Well .......
That question is yet to be answered. However, it would be good if the new multipurpose arena could continue the trend of providing an upgrade on what West Australians have had to endure at current venues.
The details of the pourage rights at Perth Stadium haven't been revealed. And it is still uncertain whether one “brand” will gain a financial right to all functions or whether individual sports and promoters will have a clean venue for their events.
Football will be the major tenant of the Burswood Bowl so we’ll focus on Fremantle and West Coast fixtures when considering a beer policy for the facility.
What fans in the outer are faced with now is fairly weak. And we mean that claim in alcohol volume. The majority of kiosks sell just Carlton Mid (3.5%) with a few places offering Wild Yak (4.2%).
The reasoning for keeping the beer offerings well below full strength is to limit the possibility of drunken activity at the matches. No-one wants hooliganism from people who can't handle their drinks. No-one can argue that isn't an appropriate aim. Nobody wants an intoxicated person interfering with another's enjoyment. But can we take a different approach to the policy.
It is unsure whether CUB will get the beer rights to Perth Stadium. The Melbourne-based operation has been reducing its exposure to AFL matches in recent years. Rival Lion has gained the old golf course headquarters near the Bowl and is believed to be setting up a brewpub similar to the Generous Squire. Rights to Perth Stadium would be an easy extension.
However, assuming no company has got the gig yet, The Sip wants to propose a plan that could put more flavoured beers in the hands of spectators.
But it might need a compromise arrangement.
A recent trip to the United States opened up a few eyes when it came to alcohol consumption at sporting events.
At the cherished Yankee Stadium punters could enjoy a 7.2% Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra India Pale Ale. Sure it cost the equivalent of $14 for about 470ml but at least there was a choice. Spectators could have had Bud Light or around seven other brews ranging from high to mid on the alcohol scale.
Top New Zealand craft brewery Garage Project has the pourage rights to Wellington Phoenix soccer matches at Westpac Stadium. Tuatara’s 5% Czech Pilsner has also featured on the tap rotation at the ground's A-League contests.
Now it is true there is a different attitude in US culture when it comes to public drunkenness. It just isn’t tolerated or seen as the thing to do at events. Even The Sip noticed at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver last year the one near-drunk patron nearby was treated as a pariah.
Yankee Stadium offers several craft beer bars at the ground.
The Yankee Stadium choice wasn’t replicated at the NFL, NBA and NHL matches attended but there was no shortage of beer around the 5% mark. And let’s face it that level normally means more flavour.
But. And it is a big but. Like a Boston Butt.
To balance the sale of full strength beer (and stronger wine and spirits in some stadia) there is a cut off for sales.
At Major League baseball the taps are turned off as soon as the final out is called in the seventh inning. Actually, if you haven’t used the midway seventh inning stretch to get in line for a brew you might be in trouble.
Operators at New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium not only cut off beer at three quarter time, before the ball is thrown in the final period, the taps, handles, towers and some of the kiosks have disappeared. Work ants descend from everywhere, almost removing the equipment without a trace.
So the deal is simple. But will the AFL fans and Perth Stadium operators like it? Is there a compromise?
Let us drink full strength beer but we must have bought them by the siren to mark three-quarter-time.
Meanwhile, on the subject of beer at Perth Stadium there does need to be careful consideration of prices regardless of what types of brews are served.
A survey last year revealed WA beer lovers were paying the highest prices in the country for a drop – of mid-strength at Domain Stadium.
Sandgropers pay $2.42 per 100ml. It is $1.89 at the MCG and $1.81 at the Gabba. It is $1.53 at Hawthorn’s home away from home – Aurora Stadium in Launceston.
The cheapest beer at Domain Stadium is $8. The equivalent at Yankees Stadium was around $9 when taking into account the exchange rate of the dollar.